Herndon Hotel To Be Developed
At the town's Planning Commission's Nov. 22 work session, town zoning administrator Elizabeth Gilleran reported on a proposal for a four-story hotel building to be built at 435 Herndon Parkway.
The applicants, Arnulfo and Margaret Labasbas, are also the owners of the site and are proposing that a 40-foot tall building be constructed to house 96 hotel rooms.
Gilleran stated that because the town had to procure land from Fairfax County to build the Herndon Parkway in that area, under the county's Circuit Court order, any future development on that property would not be required to have side and rear setback regulations.
This means that the hotel can be built on the property line, as opposed to the town's regulations that structures built in the zoned Industrial General district be at least 30 feet from the property line.
The proposal has the hotel two-feet from the eastern property line and 16 feet from the northern property line, due to the long and narrow shape of the 1.978 acre lot.
Gilleran said although staff believes the development will benefit the town because of an increase in tax revenues, there are some issues that need to be addressed before the commission should approve the application.
Although she said she thinks most of the issues will be resolved before the commission's Dec. 6 public hearing, she said the location of the loading space and the dumpster enclosure, accommodation for transit users, lack of internal walkways, public sidewalk materials, the status of a deceleration lane and green street buffer and the design of the right-in/right-out directional island are issues that should be addressed.
Gilleran said because the Herndon Parkway's maximum speed is 35 mph, the entrance to the hotel does not need a deceleration lane. She also said in addition to a public sidewalk off the Herndon Parkway, the town would like to see an area with benches or other bus stop-like design, although it is not required.
Arnulfo told the commission at the session that although the hotel has been referred to as the Herndon Hotel, he is hoping to brand it with the Hampton Inn and Suites logo.
Proposal for Commercial Offices
Fusion Enterprises, Inc. has proposed to develop six commercial office/retail townhouses at 795 Center Street, at the vacant lot next to the Moose Lodge.
The proposed site is 26,183 square feet, zoned Central Commercial District (CCD), and neighbors the Moose Lodge, houses and office spaces.
Gilleran said the proposed commercial town houses will be two stories with basements and are arranged in one row that will run parallel to Center Street.
Commissioner Bill Tirrell raised an issue regarding the trench currently on the Moose Lodge property saying it could be dangerous to children and should be addressed — adding he hopes it will be remedied in the development process.
Because the land is in the Herndon Heritage District, any structure or lighting changes or proposals must be approved by the Heritage Preservation Review Board before the commission and council can vote on them.
Gilleran recommended the approval of the site on the town's behalf for the Dec. 6 public hearing.
Locust Street Townhouses
Town staff recommend the denial of an application to the planning commission requesting a zoning change at 851 Locust Street by Lawrence Doll Homes, LLC.
The applicant requested the 0.67 acres of land be rezoned from Commercial Offices (C-O) district to Townhouse Cluster Residential (RTC-10) district.
Michelle O'Hare, comprehensive planner for the town, said they recommend the commission deny the application primarily because the plan does not provide enough distance from Locust Street to the townhouses.
The proposed development is for six, upscale townhouses that would be accessed by a private street off of Locust Street.
The four middle townhouses will be 26 feet wide with two-car garages and the two houses on the end are proposed to be 31 feet wide with three-car garages.
In the staff report O'Hare states that "staff does have concerns about the compatibility of this development with the single-family and heritage preservation district across the street. The proposed townhouse row is too close to Locust Street and does not complement the single-family residential neighborhood."
Under the current proposal, Lawrence Doll Homes, LLC shows the townhouse row at 13 feet from the property line. Town staff believes this to be insufficient based on neighboring properties, adding if the applicant were to make one of the side houses a two-car garage with a side entrance as opposed to proposed three-car garage structure, the new configuration would add six feet, creating a setback of 19 feet — which the town would accept.
O'Hare explained upon writing the staff report she had not heard from the applicant regarding proffers — added incentives by the developers to the town — but that she did receive them Nov. 22 before coming to the meeting.
In the staff report, O'Hare lists the following items they believe the developer missed in their application that need to be addressed: architectural elevations, funds to offset additional recreational services generated by the development, funds to offset school impact generated by the development, maintenance and inspection of underground storm water management facility, prohibition on recreation vehicle parking and limitation on garage use to vehicle parking only.
Grayson Hanes, agent for the developer, said at the end of the discussion that the developer has looked into offsetting the school impact, but that would mean giving money to the Fairfax County Public School system. He said they would prefer to give directly to the Herndon schools impacted and that they were looking into how they could do that.
Hanes reminded the commission they need to keep an open mind about the proposed site because the proposed townhouses are "a size you haven't seen yet in this town," adding the developer will try to make some modifications before the Dec. 6 public hearing.
Rain Garden Installation Fees
The town has recommended that the Planning Commission approve a new zoning ordinance text amendment that would require developers to pay a $250 installation fee for each rain garden they plan to create on a site.
In her staff report, O'Hare said this fee will "offset staff costs associated with review and inspection of bioretention facilities known as rain gardens. The bonding requirement will ensure that the town has funding to complete the bioretention installation, if the developer fails to do so."
Because there have been so many questions regarding rain gardens as well as the fact that the town will be held responsible if owners fail to maintain them — or if they are constructed poorly — the town wants to address the issues ahead of time.
By implementing the $250 installation fee, the town is ensuring they will receive money back from the developers if the rain gardens do not work due to poor installation.
O'Hare said the fee will cover the engineering review and two on-site inspections to make sure the soil is the proper mixture and the correct plants are in place. She added it will be up to the public works department to work out the details with the engineer involved in the construction.